Aguilas wins inaugural Serie de las Americas

Dominican team defeats Cardenales de Lara in championship game

Aguilas wins inaugural Serie de las Americas

MIAMI -- Add another championship chapter to Aguilas Cibaenas' rich history. Zoilo Almonte's two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning lifted Aguilas to a 4-3 win over the Cardenales de Lara on Sunday night at Marlins Park.

Jonathan Villar added a leadoff home run and a single and scored three times to help Aguilas capture the inaugural Serie de las Americas, a two-day event that featured Winter League teams from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Aguilas, a traditional power with 20 Dominican and five Caribbean Series titles, can also list the Serie de las Americas among its accomplishments after holding off Lara from Venezuela.

"When you're winning, it's always exciting," said Aguilas manager Miguel Tejada, the former American League MVP who also had a long career playing for the Cibaenas. "I think these two games for my team have been great, especially for my players and the whole city of Santiago. It's exciting to see our team play the way they played."

In the ninth inning, Aguilas was finally able to break through on Almonte's bases-loaded hit. Angel Franco started the rally with a single. With two outs, Villar was intentionally walked. Rafael Ynoa reached on Gabriel Noriega's error at short, setting the stage for the championship-clinching single to right.

Lara closed the gap to 4-3 on Cesar Izturis' two-out RBI single.

Serie de las Americas was a two-day event that brought a Caribbean Series-like atmosphere to South Florida.

In the third-place game Sunday afternoon, the Tigres del Licey from the D.R. defeated the Navegantes del Magallanes, 4-2.

The championship game started with a blast as Villar led off with an opposite-field home run to right off Edwin Escobar.

Escobar, a lefty in the Red Sox system, gave up two runs (one earned) in three innings.

Villar helped manufacture the Aguilas' second run, lacing a single to left, and then stealing second and moving to third on a throwing error. He scored on Ynoa's sacrifice fly.

The Cardenales pushed runs across in the second and third innings off Kelvin Villa. Hector Gimenez singled scored their first run, and Maikol Gonzalez singled in the third, and raced home on Noriega's groundout to second.

Lara squandered a leadoff triple by Elvis Escobar in the fifth inning. With one out, the Cardenales attempted a suicide-squeeze bunt, but Escobar was tagged out in a rundown.

And in the eighth inning, with the score tied at 2, Aguilas was unable to cash in with the bases full. Osmer Morales, who pitched in Class A for the Mariners, inherited a one-out, bases-loaded jam. The right-hander retired pinch-hitter Danny Richar on a pop to short. With the count full, the 23-year-old got Wilin Rosario to tap softly to the mound.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.